Advise on lighting, First "real" photog job.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by :DRS:Church, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. :DRS:Church macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #1
    Well, it looks like I might be getting my first "real" job. Shooting a youth rodeo. Yehaaaa!! So I am looking for a cheaper set up than what you guys will probably recommend:p The last rodeo I went to, the photographer was using 2 large strobes to light up the arena. I tried to talk to the guy to see what he was using, but he turned out to be a |)ick. So no help there. I saw some guys using flash extenders when I was at the Bosque del Apache in New Mexico last winter. I wonder if that would be a good option? Thanks for the ideas!!

    Church

    BTW I use a d70 with a sb-600 flash. As for a lens,,, its gotta be my old trusty Nikon 80-200mm f2.8
     
  2. furious macrumors 65816

    furious

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    In stead to getting a flash have you thought about getting a fast prime. Will properly end up costing yourself the same and in the end you get another lens rather than a flash.
     
  3. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #3
    You're not going to get a whole lot faster than 200mm f/2.8. Are you suggesting Nikon's 200mm f/2.0 VR lens, at $4000?
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    I don't think a Better Beamer is going to help with horse and rider-sized subjects. Strobes are the way to go.

    One or two from the ceiling is probably best. If you're being paid, then you should be equipped and capable of shooting the event. "I have a camera and can press the shutter" isn't the upper limit of qualification for commercial shooting. Clients deserve value for their money, and the cost of a photographer includes the fact that they know how to get the shot if conditions aren't ideal and they have the equipment to do so. Appropriate lighting, back-up bodies, lenses, batteries, etc. are all part of the deal.

    Any decent mono lights should work, you'll probably want radio triggers and you'll need to test your placement/settings. On a budget, I'd look at the Alien Bee 800's and their new low-end radio triggers.

    This link should help:

    http://www.daveblackphotography.com/workshop/arena-lighting.htm

    Make sure your insurance is up to date, once you go hanging things from the ceiling and start firing strobes at people you're going to want liability coverage commensurate with where you're shooting, and horses aren't cheap.
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #5
    Going faster than f/2.8 is (depending on distance) going to provide a depth of field that's pretty narrow for a horse and rider. Lighting is important when you're getting paid for a job, and strobes let you control the light- that's one of the most important tools for a working professional.
     
  6. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal (Canada)
    #6
    I dont know how big the arena is, but a 70-200 should do the job, but a backup body with something in the 300-400 range could be nice to take face shots or any other details. But that is extra...

    As others have said, flashes are the way to go. They are your only way to stop the action. I dont know your exact setting but I would think that you will at least 3 flashes, all with wireless triggers (pocket wizards). Place one on top that will overtake the ambiant lighting from the place. For the two others, it depends of where the action is. For a nice 3D feel you will need to shoot the subject with one flash 2x closer to the subject than the other so it could get 4x more light. It should allow you to stop the action at 1/2000s. But you have to understand that strobes have limited range so concentrate the positionning of the lights where the action is most likely to be and DO TEST SHOTS BEFORE. Use fully charged batteries, do your tests and replace the batteries with fully charge ones before the shots.

    Finaly, with a 2.8, you run the risk of out of focus shots because the DoF is too narrow. Bokeh is great, but not when only the horse head is in focus! So do some testing and shoot at f5.6 or f8 when you are in the long range of the zoom unless you are going for something artistic.

    Oh, also check out for the white balance with a grey card. That is something I always forget to do!
     
  7. :DRS:Church thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #7
    Thanks for the help guys. Just a little more info for ya. I am not being paid by the rodeo company. I will be paid by the people buying my photos. So thats a good deal,, if i suck it up, I wont make any money. No harm, no foul. Most of these youth rodeos dont even have a photographer until the finals. i went out to a arena this morning,, I am thinking a 2 flash set up is the way to go. Getting up in the ceiling is really not an option. Anyway thanks for the ideas guys!!. I you have anymore, lets hear them.

    Church
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    The fast lens is good for it's own reasons but he will almost certainly want a strobe as well. The strobe does more then simply add light. The problem with digital photography outdoors in sunlight is the contrast. That is the difference in the light of the bright areas vs. the shadows. You have the problem of either vlowing out the highlights or letting the shadows go black. The strobe can help a lot. Basicallt it will fill in the shadows and reduce the contrast.

    If you can't get close you will need to use more light. There are two ways to get more lioght (1) buy a bigger or more strobes and (2) use a powerfull light directing device to make you strobe mre directional. You only need to light up the subject. A "Fresnel" lens placed on from of the strobe can focus the light. You can make these for about $10 or buy them for a bit more. The effect is to about double the stobe's power.

    Surprisingly (it you've not worked out the math) you need more power in daylight then at night. Fill in flash is very demanding of strobe power because the strobe has to compete with the sun. At night all the strobe needs to do is make the subject "visible" but in the day, it must but (say) one stop less light on the subject than the sun. That's a lot.

    You will need to work out the exposure before you buy equipment. First figure the exposure in sunlight (sunny 16) next using the assumed camera to sunject distance figure out what guide number you will need to be (say) one stop under the sunny 16 exposure. Obtain a strobe system with this guide number are larger. Simple.
     
  9. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #9
    I hate these kind of responses to these kind of topics. When it's obvious (as the OP clearly stated) that the gig is a first time thing, don't assume their getting paid as much as a commercial photographer, and don't belittle them as if they're pretending to be one.
    It's just rude, at least to me.
    Like, I'm shooting a friend's wedding this fall, and I'm getting about $100/hr for 6-8 hours. It's not a big affair at all, 30 guests. And I don't shoot events often at all, so if I were to post a thread like this and you jumped on me like you just did, I'd get a little pissed.

    I just really hate the atmosphere of this forum when people go on spills about what is and isn't professional, and who is and isn't capable of the job. It's very stuck up.











    And I don't see many quality event photos come out of this place to back up those posts, either.
     
  10. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wenonah, NJ
  11. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #11
    Congrats on your first job. You can go several different ways. A couple small strobes that have wireless capability could be the way to go. One on camera and another mounted across the arena or above would help. Small monolights like the ones from JBL or Alienbees would also work. You could mount them on strobe stands and duct tape the stands to different things. Then trigger them with an on camera strobe. The JBL systems are cheap and I would not recommend them unless that is all you can afford. Perhaps you could make enough with this job to get some nicer strobes. I make a living shooting with a news office and freelance enough to pay for my personal gear and other toys. I would try to shoot this with a minimum of two strobes, one on camera and the other across the way with the action between me and it. This will help with seperation and give definition in the arena. Good luck. Let us see some photos when you are done. Avoid the temptation to crank up the iso to four figures if you can help it. That just adds noise and artifacts taking away from the photo.
     
  12. :DRS:Church thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #12
    Hey seenew,,, thanks for sticking up for me!! I was going to call him a dick, but I think he knows he is already. See what he does not know is that I have spent the last 2 years shooting white water rafters. And I made a killing at it:) So anyway. I just have had very little experiance shooting indoors, henc the need for lighting advice.

    Anyway back to these strobes,, I went looking for the JBL lights failsafe1 was talking about, but I cant seem to find them. Anybody got a link? I dont mind going cheap on the first round. Hell I started shooting rafters with a Nikon 5000:eek: But I sold enough photos to buy a d70, then I sold even more photos a bought a camera bag full of other cool stuff. So I will do the same thing with my lighting;).

    Horse people are a bunch of odd ducks anyway, so this might be the only time I ever even do this. I am just tired of being wet all the time.

    Thanks for the help guys!
    Church
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #13
    Just because it's a first-time gig doesn't mean it shouldn't be done professionally. The OP didn't state until much later that he wasn't being paid by the event organizers. If he were and he took on the responsibility to shoot it professionally, then he'd have the responsibility to not screw the clients. Now you may think it's "belittling" to insist that someone who commits to shooting a one-time event for money be prepared to shoot it- but the event organizers aren't going to hold a do-over if the photographer isn't prepared- and then the OP isn't going to get the chance to shoot for that client ever again. Read some of the horror stories about folks with a decent camera and no back-up screwing up someone's one-time event whilst representing themselves as professional photographers and put yourself in the customer's shoes.

    Now what happens if the OP shoots the event, someone's kid comes off a horse and gets hurt and they blame his flashes and he doesn't have insurance? He's *totally screwed* while it's being litigated. Worse-yet if he gets a flash tube that blows and it injures someone he's screwed after it's being litigated.

    He got a link to lighting exactly the type of shooting he's looking at doing, and some business advice that he can either take or not- but it's *more rude* to take someone's money and not be prepared than it is to tell someone they should be prepared to shoot a job professionally.

    Likely not as pissed as if your friend spent $600-800 and didn't get any shots after some sort of equipment failure. However, for a *friend* I'd just caution you to ensure (a) your friend knows your capabilities and (b) they let their future spouse and associated parents know. That's a way different situation than shooting for a third party for pay. It's got more potential downsides for you, but less for the clients so long as they all know what the risk is when compared to the price someone who normally shoots weddings would charge.

    Anyway, if you get your feelings hurt over someone you don't know posting an accurate posting on an Internet forum that's your problem- get over yourself.

    I didn't say *anything* about the OP's capability other than in regards to equipment, and it's *more* stuck up to assume you can take someone's money as if you were a professional and not act like one. Many people don't understand the pitfalls of skipping or skimping on things- sometimes (like with insurance) they get screwed over, other times (like with spare gear) the client get screwed over. Sometimes nobody gets screwed over- it's all about knowing the risks and you can't know them if you're not aware of them.

    As for knowing what is and isn't professional being stuck up, get over yourself and your false sense of proletariat. What is and isn't professional has been well established for quite a long time, as have the reasons for it.
     
  14. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #14
    You will never find the JBL strobes I mentioned because I should have typed JTL. Sorry.

    www.keh.com has some under the studio lighting link. You can get one small monolight for $99
     
  15. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #15
    I posted the correct information. Sorry I meant JTL not JBL. Look at KEH or B&H etc. They are cheap and small.
     
  16. Cloud9 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Location:
    between flesh and thought
    #16
    That being said, and you've probably heard it a thousand times, your best light is a tripod.
     
  17. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wenonah, NJ
    #17
    I think a tripod is a bad idea for sports. You're much better off with a monopod. If you're standing there taking picutres for hours it really saves your arms from carrying around the big lenses.
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #18
    Look at stands and umbrellas for the flash guns, silver will be the best for bringing out the texture of the horses' coats. If you haven't already, check out the Strobist site for working with strobes in gyms, the idea should be pretty-much the same.

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/

    I'm not sure if the D70 has commander mode, if not, another SB-600 and an SU-800 should set you up pretty well- if not radio triggers may be the way to go. Double-check that the SU-800 will work with two 600's but it should be fine, key from one side, fill from above/behind the shooting position into silver umbrellas is where I'd start.
     
  19. :DRS:Church thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #19
    Thanks for all the posts guys. I really didnt mean for anybody to get pissed at each other. The main reason I dont go one DPReviews forums anymore is cause its full of jerks. A couple points I would like to make,,,,,

    Using "slave" flashes= bad idea. What if grannie's flash fired off mine? Radio control FTW!!

    Not worried about being sued. Its a known fact that if you enter a rodeo, you are doing so at your own risk. Tennessee has some really great laws about horses and riders and such.

    Compuwar, thanks for your ideas. But dont you worry about me. I have a back-up cam(30d). Or I could use my fathers MarkII or whatever its called. But my advise for you is to loosen up a bit. You had some good points,, you just sounded like a dick. I bet its safe to say that some server somewhere has spit in your food.

    You all have a great night, and thanks once again.
    Church
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #20
    That's why I recommended the SU-800, the triggering is encoded, so you'll only get affected if someone has a D200 or SB800 in commander mode or another SU-800. You also get 4 banks, so someone would have to be deliberately messing with you.

    Laws don't stop you from being sued, they simply help you prevail if you are. I'd think a flash is not an "inherent risk" of equine activities- so I'd bet that a court would take a suit under TN ST § 44-20-101 - 105 even if you ultimately prevailed. It's your risk to take though- but coverage for a couple million in liability will likely be under $300/yr- I cover ~25,000 in equipment with liability for $500/yr and that includes theft of my MacBook, dropping the camera and pretty-much everything else outside of floods and terrorism.

    The other advantage is that it'll let you shoot at venues that require insurance coverage- I'd be surprised if you couldn't get decent coverage for ~20/month.

    You'd lose that bet- if the waiter was out to make victims of the customers, then they'd get a vitriolic response- but I sure wouldn't be eating at a business that ripped off it's customers afterwards- and I'd assess the risk fully informed of the downsides of eating there afterwards. I sure wouldn't be even entering the door if someone said "I want to be a waiter, but I can't afford to wash my hands but $restaurant just hired me for my first gig!"

    People in these forums forget that "pro" means there's a customer who's supposed to be getting value for their money- an attempt to rip off the customer disguised as some sort of photographer-oriented panache simply isn't fair to the customer. If it doesn't apply to you, then you can ignore it- but if it does then you should evaluate what you're giving the customer in that regard.

    It's like speaking engagements- If I were to say "Hey, I really don't want to *do* any of that Windows junk- but I'd like to speak at various security conferences because it's good money and that Windows stuff is popular, so I'm doing my first "real" speaking engagement next week at USENIX Security- where can I get some screenshots of doing Software Restriction Policies?" I can't afford a copy of Windows 2003 Advanced Server or even XP so don't tell me any of those expensive options and I really don't have time to do it, so don't tell me to try it out!" In that scenario, getting up in front of say 120 people to speak as an expert wouldn't be fair to *any* of them.

    Fine Art photography is about the image, most other professional photography is about the customer.
     
  21. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #21
    I agree with this. Good point.

    Your other points, well, valid sure, but the tone in which they were expressed was less than stellar. :(
     
  22. :DRS:Church thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #22
    Dude you really missed the point. You dont know if a waiter spits in your food. You being a jerk,,,, well I just have a feeling that you have had your food spit in. And you never knew it. Thanks for the insureance idea. But being a white water photographer,, I took take of that long ago. But I will have to see if my coverage covers other people. Good point and its well taken.
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #23
    The whole "I know who you are based upon three Internet postings" psychology thing is about as accurate as the statement "Internet Explorer has a great security track record." FWIW, ~90% of the folks who wait on me hang out and go drinking with me.
     
  24. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #24
    My initial reaction to the OP was similar to Compuwar's and yet I am not in the right mind to make any kind of intelligent statement that wouldn't sound belittling. I believe what he (or she) said was actually very thoughtful. However, I must say to the OP that if you can sift through whatever doesn't sit right with you about compuwar's statements then you will find that he is correct, helpful, and very matter of fact about your dilemma and I do call it a dilemma.

    While not being paid by the event organizers you did represent such. This is not your first time shooting for cash and yet you appear to represent yourself as a first-timer. It would be prudent if someone who apparently possess the intelligence that compuwar apparently does to share the information that you're seeking. You actually asked a question in this forum and received thoughtful answers that will ultimately help you. I wish I could see more of that. My advice to you is to take his advice or at least give it some thought. He's also providing you with some hints and external sites to visit to learn more. Even after you stated you were going to call him a dick he returns with more information. Kudos to compuwar!


    I am pretty much laughing at this point. You put it extremely well. :)
    I'd drink with you but I'm not waiting on you. :) FWIW
     
  25. furious macrumors 65816

    furious

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Australia
    #25
    You guys and gals do know what a rodeo is? The OP will not likely have room form umbrellas and off camera flashes/strobes. If I was him I wold limit the amount of equipment I take, Camera, Bag with extra battery, a range of lenses that is about it.

    Too the OP move around take some photos near the gate and get right in close to the action and some from across from the gate and some from right angles to the gate. Most of the light will come form the venue. A flash is ok though remember you will likely be 10m or more away from the action. So it better be a big/strong flash. This is why I recommended a fast prime for when he is right near the gate plus his 80-200mm f-8 for when he is further from the gate.
     

Share This Page